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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Dec 12, 2010 8:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: John Perry Barlow and WikiLeaks

Sorry, but Wikileaks is nothing like the Watergate tapes. The Watergate tapes -- or the Pentagon papers for that matter -- were evidence of crimes. Watergate needs no explanation, but the PP showed conclusively that the Pentagon and White House knew that Vietnam was unwinnable, but kept fighting anyway. Those were cases where there was a clear public interest in the release of classified information.

Wikileaks does nothing of the sort. They have shown that war is hell with the war logs, and they have certainly uncovered some disturbing things about US foreign policy. And I applaud the fact that they have uncovered evidence about our secret war in Yemen, and about Shell's incredibly imperial behavior in Nigeria. The latter is particularly despicable, and should be made public.

But they have also been rather non-discriminating in their release of material-- particularly with the war logs -- and that is very unsettling. There needs to be a channel for resonsible leaks, but I'm pretty sure WikiLeaks ain't it. Diplomacy requires confidentiality in some cases. To think otherwise is just naive. And I fear that the lives of many good people will be put at risk when it is revealed that they've talked to the US.

I also worry that it will ultimately be a major setback for government transparency. Perhaps they'll see it as a wake-up call and reform the secrecy system, but more likely is a clamp down on openness and even more over-classification. The future looks grim to me.